Through no Mastery of Myself

buried under the voluminous gray skies, the quiet spirit of autumn lingers heavily;
it has come like a sudden shadow, opening up a new world and silencing the last echoes of summer;

winsome hopefulness soars on the tail of the wind and flies along with the black and gray feathers of the chickadees. with it, the world waits with baited breath. will we find ourselves wrapped in a blanket of winter without tasting the full glory of autumn? will the winter winds find their strength where the autumn leaves lost theirs?

we cannot tell, for we are only here to feel and experience and know what is given to us.
this world is free to come and go, and so I am not who I am through great mastery of myself;

I too am like the sudden shadow, sweeping across a world in a moment of time and lost again in another.

how can we grasp what is not ours to keep?

What a life. What a lady.

I had three months with her. Not just once-a-month worth of three months, but once-a-week’s worth of three months. I watched her live and I watched her die. I watched her sitting up on her little couch, watching tv and talking with me and I watched her laying down, breathing heavy and hard, eyes closed and hand limp as I held it.

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Even so, It is Well

There are days that feel like years and moments that feel like whispers of time. 

There are weeks that seem to wade out into oblivion and seconds that fly by with the speed of sound.  There are moments that I feel more and more like the weakest of John Bunyan’s characters who jumped at the sight of their own shadow.  There are times when I can only take the thing most precious to me – His Word – and hold it tightly and cry into it because I am so weak but wish I were stronger.  My faith, so feeble.  My courage, so faint.  My hope, so unseen.  My love, so weak.  

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The In-Between Place

I am in between the places of unknown and uncharted
the wild, wilderness land where the wind calls loudly 
the place where jackals run and the morning sun rises high and heavy 


to my right is the great and open desert
to my left is the saltwater ocean and there is no middle ground
at night the desert ghosts slide noiselessly through the broken thirsty ground
and the deep, unseen song of a whale calls from the black depths of the water


and here I am; in this in between place.  I cannot speak for my mouth is dry with fear
where, in this in between place, will I go? 
Is there a quiet refuge or a roaring waterfall? 
Is there hope even in the silent shadowlands?

Wishful Summertime

Rain falls like blueberries on hot oatmeal, leaving small wet slaps on the sidewalk and black tar. Far away, over the brick houses and glistening emerald trees, a quiet rainbow rises, spreads its color and then fades back into oblivion. Summer is here in all of her shining glory, and we sit and watch her come with glorious splendor and wish that she would stay forever. She’s subtle, contemplative, whimsical and mysterious. You cannot tell when she’ll touch the grass and sky one last time and whisper out her final breath. So you step out into the gleaming sun as long as you can, touch the raindrops and let them fall, laughing, unto your face, and run through the wet and wild wood as long as your legs can carry you.

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Blind Men & Wayward Children

It’s quiet outside now.  She lets down the black shades and twists them shut, but keeps the window cracked open so she can hear.  She flicks on the light above the stove, and starts cooking.  First, it’s beef chili, with lots of cumin.  While she’s cooking the meat and onions, she starts a pot of water for boiling strips of cotton.  Once boiled, she will make them into test strips for her dyeing experiment.  This time, she’s using blueberries, and hoping the color will turn out to be a beautiful, strong blue.  She settles down to stirring pots, sipping on wine, watching Friends, and checking her phone.  


Life’s been wild.  If it is not enough to have a crazy virus seeping through your land, closing businesses and churches and keeping you from the people you love most, there is the terror of murder and rioting and wild men and women.  If not that, then there is the burden of your own soul, watching all of this mess and wondering where you stand in it, and if you ought to be standing or if you should be apologizing for even being alive.  If not that, then there is the news of so called “Christians” abandoning the faith.  Why?  There were too many unanswered questions, they say.  Too many doubts.  I just can’t reconcile the God of the Bible with the evil in the world, they say.   At least they’re honest.  You sit, wherever you are, biting your nails (if you still have nails left) and wondering what is the next shock the world will experience.  What is the next evil that will come?  

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Pies & Placemaking

I am on page 99 of 216 of the little, rough-edged book with the purple words, white roses and a butterfly on the front.  The minute I picked it up and started reading, I thought I had found a kindred spirit, and yet, 2 months later, the poor kindred spirit still likes largely untouched beneath a stack of equally untouched books.  


“Who are the placemakers?” says the book.  “They are often the ones who look like fools.  They follow extravagant and impractical dreams.  While the world races past on smooth concrete, they patiently tend soil with a yearly application of chopped leaves and the clearings from the henhouse.  They plant trees they will never live to see full-grown.  They know the names and the histories of the antique roses.  Who are the placemakers?  They are the ones who gaze out over emptiness and, sometimes through tears, see shimmering possibility.” [Christine Purifoy]

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Praise & Broken Bones

It’s another day of pulling up Google Maps and calculating 29 minutes to Grandma’s little apartment, buzzing the intercom and creeping upstairs, finding the key and tiptoeing inside to the grayish apartment building, just before the sun finds the cracks in the shades and golden light comes peaking in.  


She has so much to praise about.  She read last week, Will the dust praise you?  Will it tell of your faithfulness?  No, it is the living, breathing moving lungs that praise.  And yet, so often she doesn’t.  She wishes, more than anything, that she could feel God more than she does.  That she would feel Him, know His love, love His people, love His will and His word and everything He is.   She wishes she could praise Him more fully without being so distracted and without checking her phone so much or mentally planning her to-do list.  

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Drooping Flowers & Psalm 23

She sits on the floor of her grandmother’s apartment building, looking out at the grayish sky, the wilting orange flower blossoms and the shadows all around her.  Four vases full of yellow, red, pink, purple and orange flowers crowd the small living room; remnants of mother’s day and of two weeks of sleeping and sitting and sometimes talking.  Grandma is dying and everyone knows it, yet she is a determined little woman and thus, no one talks about it.

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Lavender Skies & God Sees

She sits by the window and watches the little people go by, and the wind rustles the linen curtains. Some little child zooms by on his scooter and an old man does not zoom, but walks slowly with his erratic step.  The sky is just starting to turn color.  It is lavender, pastel blue, and rose pink, but the clouds have grown and she knows the sky will threaten rain eventually.  What a beautiful evening.  What a good God.

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